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Peters Pool, Franz Josef

Peters Pool, Franz Josef

Franz Josef is a tiny town on the West Coast of the South Island with one very big attraction – Franz Josef Glacier. There are many tracks in the area which give you views of the glacier (and the valley it’s carved out over the centuries) and Peters Pool is one of the best.

The Short Walk to Peters Pool

The track to Peters Pool starts at the main Franz Josef car park. The start of the track is close to the main track which takes you closest to the glacier (definitely do that walk too!). It should take around 25 minutes return and it’s completely flat – this is one walk the kids won’t complain about! There are occasional views from the track, and before long you’ll be faced with one of the best views you’ll see anywhere in New Zealand!

Peters Pool

Peters Pool is a kettle lake formed by the receding glacier. I saw an old photo of it and the glacier face was right there at one point! There’s a small seat to sit on and admire the views, but there isn’t much else to do at Peters Pool. Such a beautiful place though, and one I reckon every Kiwi should see once in their lives!

There’s a track which continues further called the Roberts Point Track. It’s a 4-5 hour walk which takes you to a viewpoint above the glacier – let me know if you’ve done it!

Peters Pool on a cloudy day

We visited Peters Pool twice on our last visit to Franz Josef – once on a cloudy afternoon and once on a sunny morning. The difference is huge – I’d highly recommend trying to time your visit so you see this place at its best – it may take a couple of attempts until you get it but you can’t beat being there on a sunny day, still day when the reflections are at their best.

Other Things to Do in Franz Josef

Franz Josef is one of New Zealand’s prettiest tourist towns, and there’s heaps to do nearby. You’ll see stunning views just walking the streets, but it’s a good idea to at least do the glacier valley walk and Peters Pool. There are other tracks too, and you can see glow worms on the Terrace Track at night. You’ve also got Fox Glacier nearby as well as Okarito, a tiny settlement with a picturesque lagoon and beach.

Are you planning a road trip around New Zealand? Check out our two-week South Island itinerary!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.